Review Summary: A performance lacking the one element the band claims to have.
Being hailed as the next big thing in hardcore is always a problem, it thrusts certain expectations upon a band and leads to many a listener being disappointed when the hype falls through and the end product is sub-par. Which leads us to Energy, a band with one of the most ironic names ever. Why is it ironic? Because it’s the one thing they lack.
In their short existence the band has been compared to the hardcore greats AFI, as well as horror-punk legends the Misfits. Needless to say I was very enthused at the idea of a band picking up where AFI left off in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. Unfortunately these comparisons are unwarranted. Energy are the definition of mediocre. The vocals although consistent are both weak and slightly generic. Similar to both Wil Francis of Aiden and Jordan Pundik of New Found Glory, vocalist Tank has an interesting tone but little to no range and a total lack of emotion.
Throughout the album the listener is subjected to endless pseudo-gothic lyrics and imagery being pumped through his high-pitched voice. The lyrical work is banal, dark lyrics are so over-used and cliché which makes the album all the more uninteresting. Also on offer is an endless supply of Woah’s which aside from their monotony just lead to boredom for the listener. The most interesting aspect vocally is the harsh vocals. The downside to this is that harsh vocals are rarely used throughout the album.
In terms of instrumental work the band is consistent albeit basic. The bass is definitely prominent but lacks technique. The guitar work is solid but similarly plain and uninspired. The drumming is probably the most interesting part of the band musically, although it doesn’t break any new ground it provides the most interesting fills and at times enjoyable beats.
The song writing also suffers from being rather generic. Energy focuses on writing standard punk songs instead of trying to break new ground. Much like fellow punk band Rise Against they seem content with creating the same music over and over when they could be doing so much more.
A major downside to the album is the production. The vocals are massively over-produced, layered to the maximum. They are so heavily digitized that any emotion in them is wiped through the endless de-humanizing they’ve endured. Similarly the instruments sound far too polished. They’ve passed the point of clean and are leaning toward sterile. Lacking any the rawness this genre is so well known for the production feels more akin to a pop-punk band than a hardcore band.
Energy’s biggest flaw isn’t their unoriginality or the weak vocals, that are ever present it’s their lack of passion. The album struggles to convey any feeling and the few times it does aren’t nearly enough to save it. If the band focused more on creating something personal and interesting they could surprise us all with a solid and interesting album but for now we are left with an uninspired, sterile and robotic experience.
On paper Energy have the right materials to be a very successful punk band. Unfortunately they lack emotion and conviction and are going to need to up their game if they wish to inherit the legacy of their predecessors.